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This Wednesday, an all-star lineup took the stage at the IZOD Center in East Rutherford, New Jersey to honor the late, great Levon Helm. Helm’s legacy was known best for his drum/singing duties in the Band. Levon Helm lost his battle with throat-cancer this past April at the age of 71.
This event produced a marquee line-up of musical acts including, Roger Waters, My Morning Jacket, Warren Haynes, Ray La Montagne, John Mayer, and Eric Church, among others. These acts took to the stage, and performed classic songs from Levon and The Band. Acts such as Roger Waters were very close to Helm. During the event, Roger Waters took to stage unannounced sporting a red baseball cap before playing The Band's “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down."
According to Rolling Stone, Helm gave Waters the red hat after they performed together in the historic The Wall: Live in Berlin concert after the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1990. Waters vowed that he would keep the hat close "until the day I die." This emotion-filled night was to not only pay tribute to the passing of Helm, but also to celebrate his life.
Proceeds of Love For Levon and future sales of the DVD from the event will go to retaining ownership of Helm’s recording studio in Woodstock N.Y. This studio is home to his continuing music series known as the Midnight Ramble. Helm’s invited people into his studio to offer continuing folk, rock, and country music jams.
I had the honor of attending one of the Midnight Rambles. Levon would invite music enthusiasts into his beautiful log recording studio. Food and drink were encouraged to bring to the event to share with other guests. Then, a couple hours of good jam music would be played. Levon himself accompanied the featured band of the night, playing strong on the drums into his old age. It was a wonderful atmosphere, with excellent music, but most importantly, an evening to remember.
Levon Helms leaves behind a legacy, many fans, and even more friends. The Helm family hopes to continue the Midnight Rambles at Helm’s studio in Woodstock. The DVD recording of Love For Levon will be made available soon.